For a decade now, MEUCHELMORD have been holding high the banner of traditional German black metal. The sole work of one Cernunnos AKA Kriegstreiber, the band have quietly built a body of work that is deeply reverent of black metal's ancient ways but is by no means totally tethered to the past. In fact, one can find a refreshing sense of modernity to MEUCHELMORD's creations, which in turns renders his expression timeless - and terrifying.
Hot on the heels of last year's Schwarzmetall aus Niedersachsen (a re-recording of 2018's Niedersachsen Schwarzmetall) comes arguably MEUCHELMORD's most poignant gem yet, Mordmelodien. Translated into English as "Melodies of Murder," indeed is Mordmelodien a melodic work - one that's darkly and deathly so, and proudly still upholding that aforementioned banner. It was 2018's all-new Waffenträger which distilled all that terrifying power to a fiercely focused degree, but whereas that album thematically focused on World War II, Mordmelodien casts its gaze back to far-older, more medieval times, and suitably does the album musically evoke an alternately aristocratic/rural headspace. The march is equally proud but also more melancholic, the cruelly blasting violence of the past dialed back in favor of an often-hypnotizing and always-dazzling melodicism that sacrifices not one ounce of MEUCHELMORD's inherent power. Similarly, the production is clear and cutting, and while that would spell "sellout" (or at least neutering) in other bands' hands, in those of Kriegstreiber does it simply highlight the band's increasingly martial aspect. Which is all to say nothing of the track "Alter Geist," which features guest vocals from ex-Endstille frontman Iblis, altogether making Mordmelodien a grand statement of Teutonic black metal.
As the modern Black Plague threatens to drag civilization back to those dark medieval times, MEUCHELMORD strides forward with a befitting soundtrack: Mordmelodien!